Monday, April 30, 2007

Normal service will resume shortly

Hello everyone, I am back in the UK and back from my blogging break. In my confusion over transitioning to the new and improved blogger, I accidentally deleted my entire blogroll a couple of weeks ago (Not like that was an important feature of this site, or anything. Ha ha ha!) So I'm slowly building it back up over the next week. If you don't see your blog link up there by next week, feel free to gently remind me.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Trish Feld 1943 -2007

A personal note: My mother, Trish Feld, died yesterday. A few people who read this blog know that she's been seriously ill. The rest of you may have been wondering why I've spent the last couple of years going back and forth between Vermont, where I'm from, and my home in Lancashire. She is why.

In August 2005 she was diagnosed with an aggressive and inoperable brain tumor. Mom weathered a grueling succession of radiation and chemotherapy treatments but gradually declined, and died quietly here at home yesterday evening, with her family around her. She never lost her sense of humor, and faced her ordeal with tremendous courage and grace.

Here's a little piece a local newspaper columnist wrote about her life. A children's librarian, she cared passionately about reading and learning, and she touched the lives of so many people, both personally and professionally, that we aren't sure the church is going to be able to hold everyone.

Nobody knows why people develop brain tumors. If, through the wonders of Google, anyone happens on this post in who is in the same situation, I will pass on the valuable Brain Hospice site, and this book that straightforwardly describes what happens after diagnosis from a first-person perspective.

If I have learned anything from this experience, it is just the same things people always learn, over and over, when someone dear to them dies. But they still bear repeating: your family are always more important than anything else. Tell them how much you love them, early and often. And appreciate them while you have them; you never know what life is going to throw at you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


This is the freakiest, most sinisterly compelling and magical short I've seen on the tube yet.

(Cheers to His Holiness Neil Gaiman for the tip.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Time Out Manchester update

Yet another installment in the laborious will-they-or-won't-they saga of Time Out's much anticipated Manchester launch.

In an interview on brand new NW Media networking website How-Do, Tony Elliott declares that the magazine will start in October, following the launch of a beefed-up TOM Website. It should definitely launch by the middle of October, he says ... unless it takes longer to set things up, that is, but certainly we can look for a launch no later than the beginning of next year.

Uh huh.

There are some more interesting bits in the interview, like the part where Tony says he's "fairly confident" the magazine can shift 8,000-9,000 copies every week. And, yes, it's a video interview delivered via YouTube. Pretty spiffy, no?

But the best part of this interview is down in the comments, where two competing magazine editors have written little love notes purporting to wish Tony good luck on the Manchester launch that are actually wince-inducing, thinly-veiled shills for their own unimpressive mags, 69 and (my favourite) Moving Manchester. What a couple of palookas.

If you're wondering where How-Do came from, it's the brainchild of Nick Jaspen formerly of the NW Enquirer. It "offers news, opinion and resources for those working in all aspects of media in the region." It looks promising so far.

Other interesting bits include a piece on Manchester Confidential, complete with an amusing description of the advertorial site's restaurant "review" process, and a comments spat... already! And we notice they have very good taste in blogs, too.

(Thanks to Mind for the Time Out tip-off)

Monday, April 02, 2007

MIFfed on Portland Street

I thought I was safe from news of the Mancunian arts scene way over here, but today it came looking for me. I opened up the New Yorker this morning and read this Talk of the Town piece about the upcoming Manchester International Festival (that takes way too long to say, doesn't it? How about we come up with something shorter, like Muffy or the MIFfest?)

MIFfed is surely how some people in our city felt after reading the piece, which made Marketing Manchester's Nick Johnson, Sir Richard Leese and Alex Poots (listed in descending order of how silly they came out sounding) look a bit, well, idiotic. Like powerpoint hucksters trying to condense the city's appeal into "brand signifiers" and not letting little things like historical accuracy or not actually knowing much about Manchester get in the way. Apparently, Poots
still lives in London half the week. I know it's not the same as trying to commute from Australia, but still.

Anyway, I thought the article was good, slightly patronizing about Manc at times, but those New Yorker writers probably don't get up North much. And it's downright refreshing to see someone write about the city without the automatic unquestioning deference for Mancunian sacred cows (The Hacienda, Alan Turing, Peter Saville, etc.) that the local press always includes free of charge.